Copying and Pasting from a PDF

Copying and Pasting from a PDF

As of August 1, 2017, Uniform Trial Court Rule (UTCR) 21.040(1) is amended to require that a document submitted electronically, whether as a PDF or PDF/A, must allow for copying and pasting text into another document, as much as practicable. The goal of the amendment is to conform the UTCR to the Oregon Rules of Appellate Procedure, which already require electronically filed documents to include the ability to copy and paste. The proponent of the amendment believed that the ability to copy and paste would be useful for judges when creating an order based in part on material contained in an existing document filed with the court.

In order to copy and paste text from a PDF, the PDF must be text-searchable. The rule already requires that electronically filed documents must be submitted as a text-searchable PDF or PDF/A. No specific software program is required, but options include Adobe Acrobat, PrimoPDF, and Nuance Power PDF Advanced, among others. Scanners and operating systems often come bundled with PDF software already installed. Keep in mind that Adobe Acrobat XI (standard and pro) will no longer be supported by Adobe beginning October 15, 2017. This means that Adobe no longer provides technical support, including product and/or security updates, for this version.

To verify whether or not your document allows for copying and pasting, check the security settings of the document before filing. The document must not be secured or locked down in order to copy text. Be sure that there are no security settings on the document, such as password-protection or other document restrictions. If using Adobe Acrobat, go to File > Properties > Security. The ‘Document Restrictions Summary’ should specify that content copying is allowed.

If the PDF is text-searchable and not otherwise secured, it should allow for copying and pasting. Issues often arise when copying an image in a PDF, even if it is text-searchable. Yet this amendment only requires the ability to copy and paste text. If you are still unsure if the document conforms to the requirements, test it out yourself prior to filing with the court. Highlight the text, copy, and paste it into a Word processing program. If you encounter any issues, a Google search may provide helpful information. Or consider contacting customer support for the software program you are utilizing.

For additional resources and information regarding e-Court, go to our website at > Services > CLEs & Resources > Forms > Category > eCourt. For CLE programs and materials, go to

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